The “golden years” have arrived. But rather than enjoying our leisure time, many of us find it more difficult and painful to do simple tasks, like opening jars or using garden tools. Are you or your loved one complaining more about achy fingers, creaky knees and painful joints? These symptoms may not be normal signs of growing older. Instead, these aches and pains may actually be symptoms of arthritis.
While there are many different types of arthritis, the most common form experienced by seniors is osteoarthritis, which affects joints in the hands, knees, hips and the neck and back areas. The Mayo Clinic states that osteoarthritis is caused when the protective cartilage of the joint begins to break down, causing varying degrees of pain and discomfort.
Although arthritis can afflict all ages, races and genders, statistics show that arthritis risks go up after age 65, when almost half of all adults will develop the disease according to the Arthritis Foundation.
What’s the difference between normal aches and pains and osteoarthritis? We’ll discuss how to detect the difference, and what to do if you suspect you have osteoarthritis, in our next article, Part Two: Staying Ahead of Osteoarthritis.